|Jonny Lee Miller takes Sherlock to NYC in 'Elementary'|
|Posted 9/24/2012 5:15 PM ET|
If it's best to be British to play Sherlock Holmes, then British actor Jonny Lee Miller fits the bill for the new Holmes-in-New-York series, Elementary. But then, Miller might also become a Yank eventually.
He's already partway there: He's been living in the USA for seven years, mostly in Los Angeles, now in New York. Turning 40 in November, he is one of the growing cadre of British actors on American TV. He's the husband of an American, actress/model Michelle Hicks, and the father of an American, 4-year-old Buster. Even his first wife is an American, actress Angelina Jolie.
And these days, he's paying more attention to American politics, even though he can't vote in November.
"I really do feel a part of the country, especially in L.A.," he says in a phone interview from his New York set. He says President Obama's speeches struck resonant chords for him, with their paeans to immigrants who helped build America and calls to the obligations of citizenship.
"It's not something I rule out, but I have not gone down the citizenship road yet. It depends on how things work out," he says.
Meaning how things work out with Elementary, the crime-solving drama that premieres Thursday (CBS, 10 p.m. ET/PT). The show adapts an enduring-if-weird 19th-century character -- damaged-genius detective Holmes -- to a 21st-century New York police procedural. Lucy Liu plays an exasperated Dr. Joan Watson, hired to keep an eye on recovering drug addict Holmes in his work as an outside "consultant," helping the police with their inquiries, as they say in the U.K.
This is Miller's third try as the lead in an American TV series (Eli Stone in 2008, the quickly canceled Smith in 2006), building on a successful career in Britain in films and TV playing parts ranging from highbrow literary characters (poet Lord Byron and Jane Austen heroes) to heroin addicts and hackers (Trainspotting, Hackers).
Sherlock Holmes is both a literary character and a drug addict. He's also really, really smart and fast-talking. The umpteenth filmed interpretation of Holmes in the past 125 years, Elementary will examine the flaws in a character updated for a modern American context, Miller says.
"I find that quite enjoyable, trying to see the downsides of someone," he says. "(Holmes) really struggles with his genius and the darker sides of his personality, and that's what attracted me (to the role).
"I quite like our take in magnifying the addiction aspects," he adds. "(Holmes) speaks both languages, the language of the underworld and the language of the lawmen. People can relate to that."
But Miller is no Holmes, he says.
"Well, in certain aspects," he concedes. "(Holmes) is extremely observant. That's one thing we share. I've always been, since I was a little kid, and my son is quite observant, too. Attention to detail -- Sherlock certainly has that, and my memory is pretty good -- but not as good as his."
But like Holmes, he's thoroughly English in his vocabulary. "Bollocks," he shouts in one scene, which wouldn't pass muster with American broadcasting standards if most Americans knew what it meant. Miller jokingly promises to be on his "best behavior" in avoiding Trainspotting-style vocabulary that viewers could Google.
Meanwhile, he and his family are loving New York, which he says is "fantastic" and like London in that "it's on your doorstep all the time." He's lived there before, when he was appearing in a show on Broadway in 2009. And his wife is from New York.
"It's a really great city to have a young kid," he says. "I'm really excited to get to know it better. My wife was quite happy to come here, too. And hopefully we'll be able to stay. It's really a blessing to be able to stay together."
|Posted 9/24/2012 5:15 PM ET|